Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: I promptly told this very handsome male osprey that I most definitely would not challenge him for his fish! I am, however, asking for you to be on the lookout for him. Did you notice that his back and upper side of his flight feathers appear to be black and not a deep brown? I have seen this osprey twice and since the first time was right after sunrise, I assumed the “black” was due to shadows. But, yesterday, when I took this photo, it was 9:51AM and so less likely for shadows to be causing the interesting color of his back and upper wings. If you see him, could you let me know? Thanks!

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River. The osprey’s eyes glittered with the intensity of the raptor’s attention. Talons stretched, taut and sharp. I could see the fish in front of the vibrantly alive bird. The osprey struck successfully and took the fish home. I snapped the shot and brought the memory home to share with all of you.

Jordan Lake Dam & Haw River: the riprap at the tailrace has become a traffic jam! There have been more than a dozen ospreys and 4-5 bald eagles all looking for fish. However, the bald eagle is a lazy hunter. In this case, an eagle, about 14 months old, had decided it wanted Mom osprey’s fish. The high speed chase lasted almost 2 minutes. The pursuit went from the dam to the south end of the riprap. Mom osprey dropped her fish at that point and the bald eagle went out over the playground and Mom osprey went looking for another fish in the riprap. This duel often happens where ever ospreys and bald eagles inhabit the same water ways. The photos also let you see the size difference between the two species.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River:

Set!

Strike! Note: she has quickly flicked her nictitating membrane over her eye as protection.

Hold on!

Head for Home!

Mom osprey on a successful fishing pass within the riprap.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: On a fishing dive, an osprey picks up a lot of water. Water is heavy at 8 pounds per gallon. The osprey is an efficient flyer so once it gains some height above the water, the bird does a shake to throw off the excess water and its weight. I love watching the shake start at the bird’s beak and finally flipping off at the end of its tail – just like a very wet dog. The bright morning light striking the scattering drops makes the osprey a sparkling sunburst.

Jordan Lake Dam, Haw River: Mom Osprey got herself a fish this morning. She hit the water, grabbed the fish and was gone out over the dam almost before I knew she was there! The glittering sunshine sure made her a brilliant brooch against the river.